Much anticipated report on UNC academic fraud case due Thursday

Staff writerDecember 19, 2012 

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Former Governor Jim Martin

CHRIS KEANE — special to the Observer

Three months ago, UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor Holden Thorp tapped former Gov. Jim Martin to take a deeper look into academic irregularities after the transcript of two-sport star Julius Peppers suggested they went back at least as far as into the late 1990s.

On Thursday, Martin expects to produce his findings at a special UNC Board of Trustees meeting, and then later in the day to a special UNC Board of Governors' panel that is looking into the scandal. In between, Martin, Thorp and a representative of the national consulting firm hired to help Martin are expected to take questions from the media.

We are hearing a lot of interest in this report, in part because Thorp has said Martin has the authority to go look anywhere he sees fit. But the charge given to Martin is somewhat narrow: See if the academic irregularities that have already been found from 2007 to 2011 go back further. Those irregularities include 54 lecture-style classes that never met but only required a paper at the end, and independent studies that were poorly tracked.

The charge also requires Martin to look at academic irregularities involving classes taken by athletes and non-athletes.

Martin, a former chemistry professor at Davidson College, was supposed to produce the report two months ago, but delayed it as new information surfaced. As of last evening, though, he said the report was still a go.

Look for more coverage of this story from us online tonight and tomorrow in print.

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